Delhi HC orders a report on providing food and medical care to flood victims.
The Delhi High Court, in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), has asked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to submit a detailed status report regarding the urgent measures taken for flood-affected people residing in relief camps in the national capital. The PIL sought immediate assistance such as free rations, medical aid, sanitary provisions, and other essentials for those impacted by the recent flooding caused by the rising water levels of the Yamuna River.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Saurabh Banerjee heard the PIL and was informed by the government that it had already undertaken efforts to provide relief to the flood-affected individuals during this month’s Yamuna flooding.
The government’s standing counsel, Santosh Kumar Tripathi, expressed “serious objections” against the petition, arguing that it was filed without adequate due diligence or prior engagement with the authorities. He asserted that the petition’s tone suggested that no action had been taken by the government, which was not the case. The PIL was filed by Akash Bhattacharya, a former assistant professor at Azim Premji University.
Responding to the concerns raised in the PIL, the bench requested that the government submit a comprehensive status report on the actions taken to address the flood situation. The Delhi High court listed the matter for further hearing on September 13, allowing the government adequate time to present its response.
According to the plea, approximately 25,000 people have been adversely affected by the flooding caused by the rising Yamuna River waters. These individuals are currently residing in relief camps, enduring harsh conditions without proper sanitation facilities and adequate food provisions. The floods have resulted in the displacement of hundreds of families residing on the Yamuna floodplain, leaving them homeless as their houses got submerged in the riverbed.
The petitioner contended that the state machinery of the capital had failed to protect the lives and livelihoods of these flood-affected individuals, highlighting the severity of the situation.
The PIL seeks a directive to the city government to classify this flood as a natural disaster under the National Disaster Management Authority Act. This classification would facilitate the allocation of additional resources and assistance to tackle the crisis effectively.
The plea also requests that the Delhi government appoint a nodal officer responsible for assessing the losses incurred due to the Yamuna flooding. The nodal officer would be tasked with conducting surveys of the victims in each relief camp and providing immediate cash assistance of ₹50,000 to those who have lost their belongings and shelter.
Addressing such a devastating flood requires a multi-faceted approach involving coordination among various government agencies and departments. The first step is to assess the extent of the damage and the immediate needs of the affected population.
The government must ensure that adequate medical aid, food supplies, and sanitation facilities are provided to those residing in relief camps. Special attention should be given to vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, and pregnant women.
To prevent such a humanitarian crisis in the future, the government needs to invest in flood preparedness measures, including improved drainage systems, flood barriers, and early warning systems. Additionally, community engagement and awareness campaigns on flood safety and preparedness can play a crucial role in reducing the impact of such disasters.
The classification of the flood as a natural disaster under the National Disaster Management Authority Act would enable the allocation of national resources to address the situation promptly. The government should also consider seeking support from relevant international organisations and neighbouring states to enhance relief efforts.
Apart from immediate relief measures, the government should develop a comprehensive rehabilitation plan to help those affected by the floods rebuild their lives. This plan could include financial assistance, housing support, and skill development programmes to help individuals regain their livelihoods.
As the matter continues to be heard in Delhi High court, the government needs to approach the issue with transparency and accountability. Regular updates on relief efforts, along with collaboration with non-governmental organisations and civil society, can instil public confidence and ensure that the relief reaches those in need in Delhi.
In conclusion, the PIL filed in the Delhi High Court sheds light on the pressing issue of flood relief for the affected population in the national capital. The Delhi High court’s directive for a detailed status report reflects the urgency of the situation and the need for prompt action.
The government needs to ensure that immediate relief measures are provided to those residing in relief camps and that a comprehensive plan for rehabilitation and flood preparedness is put in place to mitigate the impact of future floods directed in Delhi. By working together with various stakeholders, the government can effectively address the challenges posed by this natural disaster and protect the lives and well-being of its citizens.